Bord Pleanála has refused 18 of the 24 J. C. Decaux advertising structures

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      Smithfield Resi

      Got sent this just now:

      Subject: J C Decaux decision

      Press Release An Taisce 11 February 2008

      Bord Pleanála has refused 18 of the 24 J. C. Decaux advertising structures appealed of Dublins “bikes for billboards” scheme; discredited plan must be halted

      Have rezonings occurred without due process?
      An Taisce calls on Minister John Gormley to intervene
      11 January 2008

      The refusals announced today by An Bord Pleanála regarding Dublin City Councils proposed “bikes for billboards” scheme is a most serious damnation of the project. 18 of the 24 decision notifications by Dublin City Council which were appealed by An Taisce, local residents and businesses have been refused.

      Most of the refusals were on grounds of public and pedestrian safety, as well as visual impact, which is a serious indictment of the competence of Dublin City Council.

      It is worth noting that all of the larger roadside “Metropole” units that were put before the Bord were refused. This is important as the project consisted of 70 of the larger units, with 50 smaller units being intended for primarily pedestrian areas.

      While the refusals by An Bord Plenala are welcome, the Board failed to adjudicate on the legal status of the the applications in the first instance.

      This leaves the legal status of the six signs granted by An Bord Pleanala, as well as the 90 signs already approved by the City Council, still unresolved. The City Council has not demonstrated legal title to allow advertising structures on footpaths outside outside properties around the city.

      The City Council have not addressed the status of the multiplicity of J. C. Decaux advertising structures already in place around the city .

      The scheme is also rotten value which has not got proper public scrutiny. We note that a similar scheme introduced in Paris seems to be providing a far superior return; in Paris 13 bikes are provided per billboard, in Dublin it is due to be less than 4; in Paris a rental of €2085 is being paid annually per site to the city during the course of their 10 year contract, in Dublin nothing is paid over 15 years.

      Particularly problematic is that each element of the Dublin plan was applied for separately, which resulted in over 120 applications, and it would have cost more than €30,000 to properly appeal what is a singular plan to An Bord Pleanála. This locked out many communities from being able to afford comment.

      It is truly remarkable that any Local Authority would be party to this, passing as they did every billboard application that was made to them.

      An Taisce, in its public interest capacity, made a priority that the matter would be subject to adequate scrutiny, and along with other bodies such as the Dublin City Business Association, over €10,000 was spent in the Bord’s fees alone in order to get a sample of appeals in front of them.

      The result is now apparent; given the units that have been refused, it is reasonable to suggest that the overwhelming majority of the 120 billboards would be rejected if the Bord had the opportunity to evaluate them.

      The way by which this scheme was put through has been fundamentally flawed. It is most troubling that the 120 simultaneous applications were made over the Christmas period (in 2006/ 2007) on public lands prior to any consent given by the elected councilors, and without the knowledge of the then Lord Mayor, Vincent Jackson.

      Of particular concern is the socially discriminatory manner by which applications were lodged in less advantaged areas. This took place without an Environmental Impact Statement.

      Of further concern is the manner by which the City Council permitted applications to be made on the public thoroughfare, of which they are the supposed custodians, and that they, the same authority would adjudicate.

      An unprecedented scenario has emerged in that while the City Council has charge of footpaths under the Roads Acts, they often do not own the ground as usually the private property rights extend to the middle of a street. This means that the City Council in effect granted permission on lands they do not legally own, and were forced to admit this during the course of the oral hearings. There is a danger that unchallenged units will go ahead, and may stigmatize the adjacent properties and locale.

      Yet most bizarrely is that in the course of the oral hearings a shaded map was shown by city officials to justify the locations chosen. Whereas previously the planning presumption has been against permitting outdoor billboards, this map entitled “Zones of Advertising Control” was used to legitimize the proposed billboards.

      It is the opinion of An Taisce that this is in effect a Rezonings Map, which has effectively been adopted by the city council – however we are not aware as to any council vote that has taken place on the matter. This poses a very basic question – have rezonings happened, and by what authority?

      It is pertinent that the City Manager, John Tierney, addresses all of these issues.

      As a priority An Taisce is calling for immediate ministerial intervention, using section 255 of the 2000 Planning Act, as the vast majority of this discredited scheme may still go ahead.

      An Taisce urges that the Minister to halt the entire scheme, pending an investigation of the process.


      For further information please call our Spokesperson;

      Ian Lumley, Heritage and Planning Office of An Taisce, Tel: 01 4541786

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